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The Ministry of Finance and Development (MoFED) downplayed rumors about the scarcity of wheat on the market, stating that it has distributed 8 million quintals. The ministry further reported that overall inflation of food items as well as non food items for the month of December has declined, when compared to the same period of last year as well as preceding months.

Rumors abounded that bread might not be available in the city in the next couple of weeks due to the serious lack of wheat the market would face in the near future.

However, the ministry, which presented the inflation report for the last four months, from September to December 2012, pronounced that the government has been able to reduce the rate of inflation by importing goods from abroad and subsidizing them. According to Haji Mohammed, Public Relations head of MoFED, the government has imported and distributed 8 million quintals of wheat. “There’s 2 million quintals of wheat in stock, and there’s no scarcity so far,” he informed Capital. The government will introduce another 4 million quintals of wheat to the market by the end of the first week of the coming February, Haji told journalists gathered at the ministry’s conference room on Friday January 18. The government has also purchased 251,000 quintals of sugar that will sustain the market till the first week of February. It has also finalized the purchase of an additional 300,000 quintals of sugar, Haji said.

Haji continued that the government is supplying 25,000 tons of oil every month until May, “there’s 15 million litres of oil in stock,” he stated.

The PR head said the inflation for December stood at 12.9 percent while for the same period in 2011 it stood at 35.9 percent. The inflation rate for food items was 11.8 percent while non-food items have declined to 14.6 percent. The inflation for food items in 2011 during the same period was 46.5 percent.

Over the previous three months – September, October, and November – it had stood at 19 percent, 15.8 percent, and 15.6 percent, respectively. The same period for the year 2011 has shown 40.1 percent, 39.8 percent and 39.2 percent inflation rate, according to written source from the ministry.

Haji has attributed the consecutive inflation rate reduction to different policy measures and direct involvement in the market by the government.

Assefa Admassu (PhD), Principal Researcher at the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA), says the inflation rate is nearing the one digit mark, which is the government’s goal. It is becoming stable and is having a good impact on the economy, according to the expert. “A normal inflation rate, which agreeably is from 8 percent to 10 percent, is an incentive for the economy as zero inflation is a result of a dead economy,” said Assefa.

Access Capital, in its quarterly pricing data released for October, had revealed that consumer goods have shown mixed results with many import food items showing sharp increases compared to the same period of 2011.